Should Women Lift Weights to Lose Weight?

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Why Lifting Weights & Fat Loss Go Together!

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Ladies! This is one of the top exercise myths I love to bust. I’ve had so many friends and clients ask me with this worried look on their faces, ‘If I lift weights won’t I get bulky?’ Well I’m here to tell you the truth: Lifting weights will not make you big and bulky! You won’t look like a man, because you don’t produce enough testosterone. Weight training will actually enhance your feminine curves. You can now stop believing those false rumours.

Iris Kyle, 8 times Ms. Olympia female bodybuilding champion. Professional bodybuilder. Courtesy of www.bodybuilding.com 

Iris Kyle, 8 times Ms. Olympia female bodybuilding champion. Professional bodybuilder. Courtesy of www.bodybuilding.com 

A lot of women think professional bodybuilders are the only women who lift weights, and this is often where the “weights = bulky and manly” myth comes from. Let’s get a few things straight. Professional female bodybuilders who you see on stage:

 

  • Have trained professionally & follow strict dieting regimes

  • Have often taken ‘enhancing’ substances to get their muscle gains

  • Are at a ridiculously low body fat percentage that’s unmaintainable post-competition time

  • Have dehydrated themselves extremely for stagein order to enhance the appearance of their muscle size

Jamie Allen, swimwear designer and model. She lifts weights. Courtesy of www.jamieallen.com

Jamie Allen, swimwear designer and model. She lifts weights. Courtesy of www.jamieallen.com

So unless you are doing any of the above, it is very unlikely you will get the body of a female bodybuilder. It’s actually really hard for women to build large amounts of muscle because we weren’t designed to. Even if looking like Iris Kyle is not up your alley (it's not up mine!), I do have total respect for her and the extremely dedicated & hard work it takes to get a body like that.

However, there are many lean, fit and strong women who predominantly weight train and don’t look bulky. So don't let weights scare you. Check out Emily Skye, Jamie Allen, and Heidi Powell. They all train lifting weights to have lean, strong and feminine bodies.

Here’s a list of proven benefits of strength/resistance training:

  1. You will actually burn more fat lifting weights than doing traditional cardio.

  2. You will burn more calories after your workout. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends.

  3. You will strengthen your bones.

  4. You will be leaner. The more of your body weight that comes from muscle rather than fat, the smaller you’ll actually be.

  5. You will ease joint pain.

  6. You will have a healthier heart. Lifting weights is just as good as traditional cardio for your heart health.

  7. It might be obvious, but you will be stronger! Muscular strength and endurance increases, which relates to better movement in everyday life.

In fact, one of the best ways to decrease body fat is to increase lean muscle mass by using resistance (weight) training. Why? The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate (your ability to burn fuel). When your metabolism is working efficiently, you will burn more fat as fuel.

If you’re wondering where to start with weight training, download my Weights For Women Guide and start burning more fat for fuel this week!

Furthermore, another unknown fact is that weight training can even be used solely for fat loss. Studies have shown that after a weight training workout, metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours. For example, after a weights workout, rather than burning roughly 60 calories an hour while sitting and watching TV, you’ll be burning 70. You might think, ‘Big deal - 10 extra calories,’ but when you multiply this by 36 hours, you can see what a big difference that makes in your daily calorie expenditure over a day and a half. Then when you multiply how much extra expenditure that is for a month, it becomes clear that regular weight lifting will really increase your calorie burning and thus fat burning capacity.

Unlike strict cardio training, resistance training (using weights or body weight) continues to elevate your metabolism long after the training session has ended. Cardio training may burn more calories if only comparing expenditure during workout times, but when you compare the next 36 hours, weight training wins out! This can also be achieved through high intensity interval training.

Another reason why I encourage women to lift weights is because as we get older, our bodies start to lose muscle mass. Therefore it’s super important to include resistance training in your workouts in order to maintain muscle mass for everyday strength and living with ease.

If you’re starting out with weight training, here’s a few tips:

  1. Seek instruction from a professional trainer to ensure you learn correct technique and form. See my Weights For Women guide.

  2. If you have access to a gym, begin on the weights machines as they offer the most stability through the movements. If not, you can begin with light to medium resistance bands, dumbbells or kettlebells at home.

  3. Begin using a weight that is do-able for 12-15 repetitions per exercise. Gradually increase either the amount of weight, repetitions, sets, or time under tension.

  4. Create interval training workouts using weights. This will amplify your body’s ability to burn more fat post-workout. For example, set your timer for 30 seconds per exercise with 15 seconds rest inbetween each set. Once you finish each round, minimise your rest to 60 seconds before starting round two.

  5. Incorporate bodyweight exercises into your training. Using your own bodyweight as resistance is a great way to increase your strength. My favourite bodyweight exercises are push-ups, pull-ups, glute raises and plank.

So what are you waiting for? Download my Weights For Women guide and get started today! P.S. If you’re looking for a personalised program with support of a professional trainer, I am at your service wherever you are in the world via my online training programs.